The NHL Playoffs are going to be a rough road for the Detroit Red Wings and they are considered a long shot to win the Stanley Cup, but since when have things gone the way statistics say? Once the Playoffs begin it turns into a game of Whose Line Is It Anyway, where everything is made up and the regular season points do not matter.
Over the next couple days we will talk about why the Detroit Red Wings will and will not win the Stanley Cup.
To get it out-of-the-way, let’s take a look at what could hinder Detroit’s chances at winning their twelfth Stanley Cup when the Playoffs begin on Friday in Boston.
The Detroit Red Wings will be without Jonathan Ericsson for most, if not all the first round. Despite his recent play before being injured and people’s opinions about him, he is the Red Wings best defensive defenseman and a steady, physical presence on the blue line. No team gets better after losing their number two defenseman.
Henrik Zetterberg has a better prognosis than Ericsson and will begin to practice with the team today. Tuesday, but has been ruled out for games one and two. Zetterberg could return as soon as game three, but it is more likely that he will miss the first round as well.
Overcoming the losses of Zetterberg and Ericsson will be a tough job and Boston will make it even more difficult.
Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Tomas Tatar, and Luke Glendening are all making their NHL Playoff debut for Detroit this season and while the NHL season is a grind, it is nothing like the Playoffs. All four players were in Grand Rapids last season during their Calder Cup run, but the NHL Playoffs will be a completely different animal.
Nothing signifies the Red Wings inconsistency than beating the Edmonton Oilers five to nothing on November second, then losing to the Winnipeg Jets two days later on November fourth.
Detroit was never able to sustain a winning streak during the regular season and only managed three winning streaks of more than three and all of them were only four games long. The two longest streaks were six and seven game losing streaks for Detroit.
The Red Wings do not have the luxury to have an inconsistent series because four of the seven games will be played in Boston, which means the Red Wings will have to break the Bruins, at least, once at TD Gardens.
The defense has been an issue all season for the Red Wings, whether through injuries, turnovers, pinching at the wrong moments, bad line-changes, or a slump in play from the defenders.
The only defenseman to play every single game this season for Detroit was Kyle Quincey and that says something about Jakub Kindl, Brian Lashoff, and Brendan Smith; who were all healthy scratches at one point this season.
Over the course of the regular season, the current defense averaged 3.07 turnovers per game and most of those turnover were inside their own zone and led to scoring chances by the opposing team.
With these aspects working against Detroit it would be a success for the Detroit Red Wings to make it out of the first round, let alone make it to the Stanley Cup Finals and win.
Do not forget to tune into Part Two: Why The Detroit Red Wings Will Win The Stanley Cup, tomorrow.